While Lt. Gov. Jenean Hampton doubts the value of studying history, a short history lesson demonstrates why her comments are outright insulting to hardworking Eastern Kentucky University students.
Hampton attended Wayne State University, a publicly funded institution. She enjoyed the benefit of Michigan taxpayer support, and tuition costs of approximately $1,971. Working in the automotive industry, where wages averaged $12 to $14 hour, she needed to work about 150 hours to cover the cost of tuition.
Unfortunately, times have changed. Tuition costs my students $8,150. They can’t find high-paying, union-negotiated wages. They work minimum-wage jobs, and must work over 1,200 hours to pay tuition.
While Hampton may not agree that she should pay taxes to support my students, that is exactly how she arrived at the position she enjoys today. I am inspired by her hard work and determination to obtain an education, but my students have the same desire and work every bit as hard. They are told that they have no right to a higher education, but should get a job. Most of them already have more than one.
With decreasing state support, rising tuition and stagnant wages, I fear the success story our lieutenant governor represents will not be obtainable for my students.
Chair, Department of Government
Eastern Kentucky University